As the foundation for some of the great modern film classics, including recent standouts The Babadook and Hereditary, the horrors of parenting never cease to fascinate. In director Lee Cronin’s creepy take on the subject, a recently separated mum and her inquisitive boy start a new life in the Irish countryside. But while mum Sarah has escaped an abusive past, she looks to have moved straight into a new set of problems. There’s an unnerving encounter with the town kook who thinks Sarah’s boy Chris is not who he seems. There’s also a massive sinkhole, hidden inside a circle of pines, which from above looks like a portal straight to hell. And then there’s her son Chris, who misses his dad, and one night wanders off into the forest without a word.
As each day passes, Sarah’s grip on reality begins to slip. Is her dark past catching up with her? And is Chris really her son? Heavy with dread and loaded with smart old-school theatrics, The Hole in the Ground never resorts to cheap scares. This is a genuinely terrifying film, especially for parents, who after watching it shouldn’t be surprised if they find themselves nervously checking on their offspring after dark. — AT